Talented players dot CWS landscape
The eight teams that make up the College World Series field made it to Omaha with loads of talent. NCAA.com takes a look at some of the players who will be on display trying to help their team to a national championship.
Louisville is one of only two programs to have three 50-win seasons in the past five years, the other being fellow CWS participant Virginia. Senior Jeff Gardner (left) leads the Cardinals with nine home runs and 68 RBI. Sophomore righty Kyle Funkhouser (center) is tied for the NCAA lead in wins with 13. Freshman Nick Solak (right) has hit .400 with a team-high seven RBI, four runs scored and four walks in Louisville's five NCAA tournament games this season.
Ole Miss ended a 42-year CWS drought by rallying from a game down to win the Louisiana-Lafayette Super Regional. Sophomore left-hander Christian Tent (left) is undefeated in nine decisions this season with a 2.21 ERA. Senior Will Allen (right) leads the Rebels with 23 doubles and 61 RBI.
TCU HORNED FROGS
TCU is one of only two national seeds to make it to the CWS, the other being Virginia. The pitching staff continues to lead the nation in ERA at 2.19. Junior Kevin Cron (left) is tied for the team lead in slugging at .438, leading the Horned Frogs with 18 doubles and five home runs. Sophomore closer Riley Ferrell (top) has a 0.58 ERA with 15 saves. Sophomore Boomer White (center) has a team-best 46 RBI. Junior right-hander Preston Morrison (bottom) has a .197 batting average against in a team-high 122.1 innings.
Texas is seeking its seventh national championship. Its six national titles are tied for second all time with LSU. Head coach Augie Garrido (top) is seeking his sixth national title and third with the Longhorns. Senior Mark Payton (bottom, left) has reached base safely in 101 consecutive games. Sophomore C.J Hinojosa (bottom, right) has 10 hits in the NCAA tournament this season. Senior right-hander Nathan Thornhill (right) has posted a 0.91 ERA in his past five starts, allowing just three runs in 29.2 innings.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
Texas Tech's pitching staff has a 0.65 ERA (four earned runs in 55 innings pitched) in six NCAA tournament games this postseason. Freshman lefty Dylan Dusek (top, left) is 8-0 with a 1.94 ERA this season. Senior left-hander Jonny Drozd (top, right) is 7-0 with five saves. The Red Raiders can hit, too. Their .287 batting average leads the Big 12 Conference. Sophomore Eric Gutierrez (bottom, right) leads the team in home runs with 12 and RBI with 58. Senior Adam Kirsch (bottom, left) is second in homers (10) and RBI (51) and leads with 21 doubles.
UC IRVINE ANTEATERS
UC Irvine is back in the CWS after beating the tournament's No. 1 overall seed, Oregon State, in the Regional, then taking care of another OSU, Big 12 regular-season champion Oklahoma State, in the Super Regional. Junior Connor Spencer (top) leads the Anteaters with a .370 batting average and 44 RBI. Senior right-hander Andrew Morales (bottom) is 11-2 with a 1.53 ERA.
Vanderbilt is ranked eighth in the RPI, only top-ranked Virginia is higher among CWS teams. Sophomore right-hander Carson Fulmer (top, right) has six wins, 10 saves and a .186 batting average against. Sophomore righty Walker Buehler leads the Commodores with 11 victories. Freshman Bryan Reynolds leads the team with a .343 average and 52 RBI. Junior Vince Conde (bottom, right) is second on the team with 47 RBI.
Virginia is in the CWS for the third time in school history, all in the past six years. Junior Kenny Towns (left) had three hits in each of the Cavaliers' two Super Regional victories. Junior Mike Papi (top) leads the team with 11 homers and 54 RBI. Sophomore left-hander Nathan Kirby (bottom) is 9-2 with a 1.73 ERA. He has struck out 104 batters in 104 innings.